In a study (pdf) released today, the Federal Reserve reports that Americans saw a record drop in their wealth between the years 2007 to 2010. Driven primarily by plummeting home values, families' median net worth dropped 38.8 percent, to levels last seen 18 years ago.
The details sound like something out of a bad science-fiction movie.
A freezer storing human brains for research went on the fritz, and nobody at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center knew for days. Two separate alarms that should have alerted staff to the problem failed to sound late last month.
A rash of kidnappings in Lebanon over the weekend, coupled with deadly cross-border attacks by the Syrian army, are all worrying signs that Syria's troubles are continuing to spill over into its smaller and weaker neighbor.
In the most recent incidents, a Sunni sheik known to support the Syrian uprising was abducted. In retaliation, several Alawites aligned with the Syrian government were taken. Days before that, the Syrian army shot several people on Lebanese territory.
It's easy to romanticize the Sahara — a vast expanse of sand organized around the northern reaches of the Niger River. Part of that romance is captured in the music of singer and guitarist Sidi Touré, who composes songs in the folkloric tradition of the Songhaï people.
His new album of desert chamber music, Koïma, harkens back to the glory days of the Songhaï Empire, which ruled much of the region from the city of Gao in the 15th and 16th centuries.
A day after getting approval for a financial rescue he vowed Spain would never need, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it was his idea all along.
"No one pressured me into this. I pushed for it myself, because I wanted a line of credit," Rajoy said. He refused to call it a "bailout." He called it a "victory" instead.
Most Spaniards don't buy that. In a poll published Sunday, 78 percent of respondents said they have "little or no" faith in Rajoy and his ruling conservatives. That's just six months after they won elections in a landslide.